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Woody Allen on Woody Allen: In Conversation with Stig Bjorkman Paperback – 18 Nov 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (18 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571223176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571223176
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 373,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Stig Bjorkman is a Swedish film journalist and film-maker. For Faber, he has edited Woody Allen on Woody Allen.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Naylor TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a well informed,well written and very interesting book. The author has been fortunate enough to interview Mr Allen in depth on a number of occasions and the results make for fascinating reading and offer what is probably, to date, the best Woody Allen book there is.There is no juicy gossip and scandal on offer hear it simply offers the sort of information that all serious Woody Allen fans want to know about the man and his movies.
Each chapter deals with one film only and they are placed in chronological order and includes only the films that he has directed ,not the occasional acting appearances he has made over the years.All aspects of film making are covered here;scripts, casting,technical aspects(cameras lighting etc),music,actors & acting,editing and much more.
This is the most in depth study of Woody Allen and is a must for all fans of his.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A must-read if you are interested in Woody Allen, his films or filmmaking in general, this book of in depth interviews is fascinating and insightful. A great and informed interviewer, asking intelligent and thorough questions about Allen's films, ideas, methods and experiences. I love the way it breaks down each film in Woody Allen's filmography and allows time to examine the work (up until the time of printing). Woody Allen is especially good at speaking about film production in an educational way, making the book valuable as a bible of advice on making film.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By H.Hogg on 6 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
If, to paraphrase Woody's character in Annie Hall, a book is like a shark, it has to move forward or it dies...then what we have here is definitely a deceased fish.

In what must surely be one of the greatest wasted opportunities in the history of biography, Bjorkman fails to give us what the title implies; a personal account by Allen that tells us anything significant about himself; not just Allen the writer, the performer or the director, but Woody Allen, the real human being. Known for jealously (and probably wisely) guarding his privacy, one never expected a no-holds barred account, but this is weak, antiseptic and, frankly dull. In short, anything less like Woody Allen would be hard to imagine.

As editor (and interviewer) Bjorkman utterly fails to get close to his subject, to get Allen to relax and open up. Instead he seems to prefer showing off his boringly encyclopaedic film knowledge, but utterly failing to connect with Allen the man. He comes accross as an obstacle to understanding, not an asset. He also seems to be a rigidly structural Scandinavian whose soul was probably laid out with a protractor.

The result of applying this over-analysing, museum-curator's mind to Allen's extraordinary life and achievement is a dry catalogue of interviews, film by film, which grinds on and on. In the course of this we do learn something about the film-maker's directing technique, but nothing of substance about the man's inner thoughts; his hopes, his fears. Allen's work is full of the evidence of inner turmoil, a conflict between the forces of light and dark, laughter and despair. But what drives it? What's the source? Read this and you'll never know.
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By mark on 3 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What's not to love about Woody Allen!
Insight to a great & very funny man
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Camus Lights on 29 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
This book begins well, providing the reader with some insight into Allen's interests, his influences and his creative process.

Then after around 70-80 pages it stagnates quite suddenly. Everything new the interviewer is able to find out about Allen is exhausted and the book very abruptly takes a repetetive turn.
Early on Allen tells Bjorkman that his creative process is pretty identical for much of his work, yet Bjorkman insists on repeatedly asking for details of his process in relation to each of Allen's individual films.
This is one of many frustatingly over-repeated questions and it is arises as a fault of structure, interviewing technique and editing.
The blame primarily seems to to lie with Bjorkman rather than Allen, as his questions lack either imagination, insight or manouevrablility for Allen to exercise his wit and intelligence.
Bjorkman also has an irritating habit of referencing the films of Bergman, Fellini and others as if to imply that they provided the inspiration for Allen's work. Allen's repsonse is always that there was no conscious desire to imitate but he supposes there could be similarities, yet Bjorkman does not take the hint. This device comes across as tactless, at times it seems almost as if Bjorkman is accusing Allen of imitation, and creates long sections that are needlessly inaccessible to any reader not au fait with the films of Bergman, Fellini and co.

I know other books of interviews with Allen exist, unfortunately I don't know which to recommend, but I certainly cannot recommend this one even to Allen obsessives, it is not worth the 300+ pages of slog after the initial period of interest, which it disappointingly fails to ever recapture. Gets two stars for the early parts and the fact it was just about compelling enough that I did finish it.
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